This Blog is about Elder Hennessey's two year mission, in the Philippines Baguio Mission, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Haha yeah I noticed that! It gave me a good laugh, especially when I saw Trent has it on backwards. (All the younger people put on Tiegue’s shirts and did a poor version of the Haka at Thanksgiving. The Haka, a tribal/posture dance, is performed by opposing teams before some Rugby games.) Torben looks good! And wow his hair is so loong!!! It probably looks weird without a hat on. He can have that shirt if he wants, it looks good on him, just call it a Christmas present. Speaking of, once I get the card working and some personal cash, I'll keep an eye out for gifts for you all, but not yet, and they wouldn’t even make it by Christmas. It'll be more of a surprise that way ;) 

Thats crazy!! Is there like a state of emergency or something?  (Told him a little about the demonstrations after the election in Portland)  I can’t believe I'm missing out on riots! I bet there are tons of videos though, sounds wild. Is it scary, like with Greta going to school In DT (downtown)?

My shoes were getting worn down pretty quick, since they were meant to be dress shoes and not walk 5 miles every day shoes, I got some of the rubber ones that Vaha was talking about, they look like dress shoes but are made entirely out of rubber so they last a long time.

This week I was blessed with companion exchanges. This is when you switch companions with someone in your district (usually the leader) in order to learn from their style, and to improve our effectiveness. The companion who I got was Elder Maners; He's from the same batch as me, meaning that we're both fairly new. This worried me because we were going to be working in my area, meaning that I would lead, I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to understand and it would damage our success. But it turned out to be the best day this week! We had 8 lessons, and found 3 new investigators; I was able to learn from Elder Maners' strength in street contacting, and him from me in lessons. It is always suuuper refreshing to have a break from your companion, even if you get along, being together 24/7 gets to be a little tedious at times. 

We did a CSP Community Service Project, helping a family to cement a portion f their wood workshop. After digging out a foot of packed sawdust and wood scraps from years and years of working, we carried sand in 3 gallon buckets and dumped them into a pile, after mixing in the actual cement, they made a little crater in the pile and mixed it up. Before I took one of those cement pictures Elder Gamboa says "Wait! Lemme grab a shovel so it looks like I'm working"  The people here don’t have everything we do in America, but they make up for it with ingenuity. The owner didn’t trust the cement to be level, just flat and hard, so he sunk 2 tiles into the corner, on which he would place a table or chair to see if it was indeed even. It’s different, but they know what works for them.

Also I took a picture of the kid on the motorcycle after I saw him climb up there all on his own, and I thought it was a good representation of the difference from America. How if a kid was climbing, there probably would have been a parent right there, maybe even holding him, makin sure he didn’t fall down

I finally received the packages! All 8 of them (was there supposed to be nine?) and a letter from Brother Snider. It was like Christmas morning opening up all the boxes, and the whole time I kept saying "man, I totally love these people" Mostly it was candy from my family, but there was also from the young women in the ward: Thank you!! With all of the little toys and candy I will make little present packages for kids in the branch. I know it will mean so much to them because some of them have so little. Elder Bek asked a kid what his favorite Christmas present he ever received was, he answered 3 pairs of socks and a cupcake.

This week we have two 13 year old girls to be baptized. I want to describe one of their houses: they live behind a building through a passageway barely 3 feet wide. We have to teach her before 5:30 while there’s still sunlight, because they don’t have electricity. Their entire home is about 10 feet x18, and there is a grandma, grandpa, mom, and 4 kids, 13, 4, 3 and probably 3. One week they couldn’t come to church because they needed to use their tryke fare money to buy food (plain rice) for their kids. It’s heartbreaking sometimes to see how little they have, but so inspiring to see them so full of joy and laughter all the time, and so willing to share. 

Our Zone leader just said that for skype you guys need an account and I'll make an account to call you on. So to do that I need the skype account address that you'll be using, and we'll need to coordinate what time also. I'm not sure what day it will be yet but I'll let you know when I know.

That bug was about 5 inches long. Scary huh?!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Hey Everyone!

That’s what they do to all the Carabau, I don’t know why, but there’s just a hole through the nostril and a knot on the other side. They don’t tug too hard because the carabau usually follow, they’ve just learned if they resist it'll hurt I guess.  I might try and get a close up picture up the nose of a carabau for ya if I remember. I'm sure it'll be maganda (beautiful)! (Kelli and Siany had asked how the rope worked because we didn’t see it coming out the other nostril!)

I went and exchanged what USD I had the other day, I had to write down every bill's serial number, and the exchange rate was about $1 - 49.2 pesos. So it’s not hard to come here with a small fortune and it will be sufficient for a looong time. Or if you have a little business with a decent income in America, and the income goes into an account, you can just withdraw here and live forever. 

That weather sounds soo nice (told him how it’s in the low 50s and rainy). It's been really hot here lately, and it’s still the cold season. I got sick on Monday night, but Sister Esplin gave me biogesic (basically Tylenol) to take every 4 hours. So I woke up in the middle of the night for it but I was healed the next day. I had a really bad fever though, talaga (really). We were walking outside in probably 85 degree weather and I was shivering. Then Elder Gamboa got sick Friday and Saturday so we didn’t work all of Friday and we attended a baptism on Saturday night and taught one lesson afterwards. It was hard for me to take Elder Gamboa's sakit (sickness/ailment) seriously because he's always complaining if he feels bad at all, and it’s kinda often. But when I took his temperature and it was 103.5 I went out and bought him meds and looked in our packet for what to do if there is a high fever. During those two days I ate through our 72 hour kits because we didn’t buy food on pday because Gamboa wanted to hangout instead. And we couldn’t go on Friday morning like he planned because he had a sakit. I don’t know if it was because a lack of food, or what, but the members told me on Sunday that I'm getting thin. I'll try to find a scale here somewhere to weigh myself. But congrats to all you Portlanders who told me I should put on weight before I go out, because you were right.

How about the Election, no news?? I heard there’s protests in Downtown Portland from Elder Labis.

Every time people ask what my hobbies or what my sport was in Portland, I tell them "gusto ko na magrugby" "I like to rugby". "Rugby" here is a rubber cement that poor people will sniff to get high, or little kids will sniff it to forget they’re hungry. That is widely known and so I have to specify that no, I don’t huff glue, I play the sport. It gets laughs and some weird faces every time. 

Hopefully I get a package tomorrow, but I didn’t receive any text from the mission. Sister Dennis said that if they received a package for you, they send a text telling you to be prepared to pay a fee of 100 pesos before we can take it home. Sana! (expression meaning hopefully)

We did a chubby bunny challenge (a contest to see who can fit the most marshmallows in their mouth and still say “Chubby Bunny”) at a FHE this week. (In most LDS homes, Family Home Evening happens once a week where the family will have a lesson/game about the gospel, play board games, visit someone or do an activity/outing.) I got like 17 marshmallows until I couldn’t say chubby bunny anymore. :)

Some of the missionaries' families here sent them stuffing and mashed potato flakes for a Thanksgiving dinner. Its way different here, the food they eat, their holidays, they don’t have a 4th of July but they go nuts with fireworks on New Years I hear. 

Sorry for the scrambled Email, but thanks for the emails and all the updates!!

Love ya fam!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The big news this week was that Trump won! We were about to be turned down from a house until the man saw that I was American, so he ushered us in as he said Trump was my new president. People here love to talk politics, and apparently there are a lot of relations/politics between Philippines and USA right now. But since we don’t watch the news, we (missionaries) don’t know anything except what we hear from other people. Everyone wants to know who I wanted to be president and what do I think of Trump, which is honestly not a lot. I usually just say I hope I can get back into my own country after two years, and that the flag is still Red White and Blue, not Orange White and Blue.

This last Thursday we did a service project in the area of Tubau, halfway up the mountain to Baguio. It was at the house/workshop of a woodworker. The Baguio mission ordered about 200 jump rope handles as a Christmas gift from the mission to every missionary. Our job was to write on the handles Philippines Baguio Mission all neat and spaced out, for the guy to etch later. He let us personalize a pair with our names and mission years on them! When we get them I'll take a pic for ya. Included is a picture of Captain Moroni and Joseph Smith. Some of the different carvings he does. 

The other pic is some more service, helping Sister Normal to spread her rice out for drying. It made me think of the joke that Tongans spread concrete with their feet, well this is how Philippinos do it. Reminded me of playing in the sand at the beach :) 

Do you have a cell phone? Ipad? A cell phone, and pen and paper. Basically everyone here has a phone.

If they (packages) get here on the 15th, tomorrow, I'll have to wait until next Tuesday to receive them, since the couple missionaries here pick up packages and bring them to our district meetings on Tuesdays. 9 Boxes?! Are they big? I'll have to carry them all from our church into a trike, and then to our house, I'll take a pic of the trike stacked with packages. One of the pictures included is of Elder Beck carrying his package from his parents. He's 6’3” And with the box he stood about 3 feet taller than all the Philippinos around him. Inside was 25 smaller gifts for Christmas, pictures, probably more things.

Showed this picture before but Hahaha and those dogs are just outside our house. Whenever they are chained up like that they jump straight against their ropes\chains and bark like crazy. One time the grey one actually got loose and ran into our apartment. Elder Gamboa jumped up onto our couch, after slipping around on our tile floor for a second, she found her way outside again. They seem scary but she was just happy to run free.

At our Christmas Conference there is a "My Four Words" campaign, where every missionary submits a picture accompanied by 4 words related to missionary work, or the Gospel. At the Conference they'll all be combined into a montage with music and distributed to all the missionaries as a remembrance. 


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Lol no bird, thankfully, it'd probably be super loud. (From last week’s kitchen photo, I thought they had a bird cage on the counter) But it’s dirty enough to be a bird cage. That’s the thing that had baby mosquitoes in the little water drainer thing, and ants living in the serving spoon. Hahaha you liked that picture (I told him I liked the picture of him looking out at the sea)? I'll have to take more candid photos like that, there’s some pics that all the missionaries imitate, like cheesy nametag pictures, or looking out onto landscapes like that. Moneys kinda tight right now because of the three week withdraw, and I’m not withdrawing today so that next month I can withdraw 8k ($165 US) instead of 4. This is to save 200 pesos from the cost of making a withdrawal. That’s one meal at a restaurant, or about 5 trips on a trike that I don’t have to walk :) Or more cookies and juice for the house! (This is money on a card he receives from his mission to purchase food, supplies and expenses.)

Last night I re-read the first couple of entries in my mission journal from the MTC, just to reminisce a little bit. The MTC was sooo nice, so cushy. I'm so thankful for my teachers, my fake investigators, and the half of my district that went to Erdineta mission. Reading my entries, I was able to see that the days really flew by. And here in the mission the days are flying by too. It's hard to realize that I'll be here for another 20 months, with probably 7 different companions, and 3-4 different areas. There is a sister here who goes home at the end of this transfer. Her leaving helps me to realize that my time here is short, so I should make the most of it.

One of my goals is to become fluent in Tagalog, and of course constantly improve, but I want to learn Ilikano. There are over 70 different dialects here in the Philippines, not just accents, completely different languages. Ilikano is the native language here in Baguio mission, so everyone knows that, most know Tagalog, and few know English. As an american missionary, people are impressed that I know a little bit of Tagalog, but If I know Ilikano, their native tongue, they are completely blown away, and way more receptive and open to you since you've completely accepted their culture. Unfortunately Ilikano is one of the most difficult to learn of all the dialects. And there’s no manual to learn it, everyone here says the easiest way to learn is just be asking members for words and phrases. That will probably be after my first 6 months, after I'm comfortable with Tagalog. 

This week was sister Dulce's birthday, she’s 73 and lives at the top of a mountain. She is an inspiration how she still attends church, even at her age.
My fighting spider eating another spider it just killed.
A giant grasshopper.
Elder Gamboa was astonished when we found this beetle. He said that in Bakolod, his city, they are super rare because of their horn. If he was take it to Bakolod, he could sell if for 1000 pesos to a breeder. That’s enough pesos for food for almost a month.

Is it really cold enough for jackets in Portland now? I can’t even remember what real cold feels like, just 16 degrees Celsius (60 F) because that’s the lowest setting of the AirCon units here.

Sorry I don’t have a lot from this week, I forgot to plan out stories last night to write in the email.